Sarah Harvard is the editor of www.define-liberty.com; here is a link to her
Q: What made you interested in politics?
A: I really hate pulling this card, but I honestly believe that the fact that I am the first generation American had really instill this passionate interest in politics. I have witnessed first hand the ugliness of prejudice, discrimination, invasion of private property, and the infringement upon civil liberties. My parents were also always very supportive of me when it comes to voicing my opinion. I would remember that in the kitchen table or car rides back from swim practice there would be a discussion over politics. I also believe that the fact that I find politics filled with corruption do I find interest in being aware and standing up for what is right, because no one will give you your liberty. You have to take it.
Q: What is your background in journalism?
A: I have always been an avid writer since middle school. I would write poems about the ills of society and persuasive papers over certain political issues. What really started my career in journalism was taking a journalism class my junior year of High School. By my senior year, I was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune’s teen edition. My op-ed would win many awards like the Enterprise’s Journalist of the Year Award, NISPA Blue Ribbon Award in Editorial Writing, and then placing first in the nation in sports writing for the Newspaper Association of America. Now, as I complete my sophomore year in university, I have started an independent international media organization and had my op-eds published in Antiwar.com, Students For Liberty, Young Americans for Liberty, BuzzFeed, and the Nation. I am also the co-Editor-in-Chief of American University’s student run magazine — The American Word.
Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception about President Obama’s foreign policies?
A: I often like to quote President Obama in his 2009 Cairo Speech:
“In Ankara, I made clear that America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security — because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. ”
Without a doubt, the people of Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya would find the President hypocritical of his words. I think the biggest misconception about President Obama’s foreign policy is that he still is the embodiment of peace and change for this nation. It really frustrates me, as someone who was a former Obama supporter, for the American people to be so naive or so silent when the President has irresponsibly ordered four times as much drone strikes and had waged a more destructive war on drugs. People often point to the President’s speech in the American University in Cairo about extending a hand to the Muslim world, but in reality, he has jerked his hand back and had created more flames of extremism in the Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia.
Q: You have worked for the Chicago Tribune what was the biggest challenge about writing for a corporately owned newspaper?
A: I loved my time at the Trib. My editors were amazing and we still remain in contact to this day. However, i’d say that my biggest challenge is the fact that there wasn’t a lot of freedom to write what I had wanted. There were advantages like interviewing T.I and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but there were great disadvantages when I wouldn’t be able to write an op-ed on the War on Terror or Immigration policy.
Q: What were some of the benefits?
A: Like I mentioned earlier, the great benefits of writing for a highly established corporate newspaper was the exposure and the high profile events. I had been on various radio shows and had attended red carpet movie screenings, the Chicago Mayoral Debate, high profiled press conferences, and fancy receptions with Chicago’s most influential leaders.
Q: What is the primary difference between a political blogger and a political journalist?
A: I truly believe that journalism is one of the most noble occupations that an individual can earn. I find it that in journalism that the pen can work mightier than the sword and instigate a revolution. I believe that a political journalist must find the true facts at hand and report or provide commentary without any manipulation of data or research. I realize that most political bloggers write for solely their own exposure and often provide subjectivity in topics at hand. I find many bloggers manipulate research and data to prove their point or offer controversial statements — and perhaps it isn’t fair for me to generalize all bloggers.
And perhaps I have a traditional view on journalism vs blogging. I think it’s easy to just “blog” or write up your own opinion, but it takes a journalist to research, investigate, and provide data for their opinion piece or news piece. And it is also important to note that while all journalists may be bloggers, not all bloggers may be journalists. That does not preclude bloggers from committing an act of journalism.
Q: What inspired you to start Define-Liberty.com?
A: I was really frustrated without the limitations and censorship over my voice through journalism. In addition, I never was fond of corporate media. There is so much manipulation and corporatism involved in media and I realized that many students of journalism found themselves stuck in their options. I grew up watching CNN and MSNBC, and now, I realized how I am appalled at how CNN can consider themselves “the most trusted name in news” or how MSNBC can consider themselves journalists.
It is no doubt that our generation will face the challenges of tomorrow, and I find it a duty of mine as a member of society, to contribute to ensuring that our information doesn’t become misinformation so we can take correct actions and become victorious for the benefit of humanity.
Q: What is the “new intellectual revolution”?
A: The new intellectual revolution is the voice of the youth taking matters into their own hands. The ideas that were derived from Friedrich Hayek, Lysander Spooner, Robert Nozick, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and the like all compiled into a 2.0 version. The new intellectual revolution is the message of unlimited liberties, less authority implemented into our politics, culture, and way of life.
Q: What causes anti-intellectualism?
A: Apathy, reluctance, and ignorance. Individuals often loose themselves in their own lives without ever realizing that their lives are being affected through our societal and political framework. The mentality of “you only live once” or “live fast die hard” has really plagued the optimism for intellect.
A lot of individuals are also unwilling to learn more about the “other”. They often stick to their comfort zone and refuse to receive any further knowledge of other groups within their society, yet make arguments and claims based upon their emotions — and not with logic and reason. In addition, they only listen to their favorite politician and take their word as their commandment. They are often reluctant to admit the wrongs of their favorite politician or idol.
With apathy and those who are reluctant, ignorance plagues society. When controlled tragedies occur, society isn’t sure about their motives and will often blame things in a collectivist stand point. They don’t look at the historical and political context as to why these tragedies and attacks occur. It is only until we understand the contextual information and refrain from making those same mistakes can we find ourselves at peace and free from our enemies.
Q: What do you think it would take to get the American public to elect a third party candidate to the presidency?
A: That’s a difficult question to ask for someone who consciously doesn’t vote. The reason I don’t vote is that my vote doesn’t matter in a two party system. I think people are so accustomed and apathetic to the reality of the two-party system that they often don’t even care for a multi-party system. The two party system establishes a voting for the “lesser evil” habit that has done nothing more than elect the same leaders with the same policies into office. If individuals started to really think critically and don’t think about the popularity of their vote, and vote for what they believe is in the best interest of themselves and society as a whole on issues — then we can see a chance for a welcoming idea of a third candidate.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)